Sunday, February 15, 2015

For this post, I decided to do a bit of "people watching" Choosing the location was difficult because I wanted to find somewhere that really grasped the spirit of Paris, you know? Then I asked myself, what is the spirit of Paris? Long story short, I realized that by starting out with that question, rather than ending with it, I would tarnish the "spirit" that I searched for. Instead of finding the true spirit, I would seek out some romanticized idea of Paris and Parisians that I, like so many of us, have developed over time, rather than really embracing Paris for what is is. That being said, I decided to do my people watching at Sacre Coeur.

What did I see? Besides the breath-taking cathedral of course? An immense number of people, French and foreigners alike, who stood around, taking in the gorgeous atmosphere. It was cold, but was sunny something that I can't see myself growing accustomed to anytime soon. Small pockets of people- couples and groups, climbed the stairs up to the church; each group-mate only concerned with those in his entourage, either member of a couple only concern with his or her date. It was amazing to see how these people had no clue that I stood there watching them, yes, I did come for the scenery as well, but I also came for them. Each and every one of them. 

I spotted a couple, They were on their way back down. As they marched down the steps hand in hand, they laughed and talked and the young woman nestled closer to her mate. For them, it was obvious that there was simply no one else in that crowded area besides them (it seriously is no surprise that they call Paris the city of love, it's absolutely adorable the things you see here).

As I walked further up, I was met with a man from Ghana who approached me, speaking in French of course. He asked for my hand, and after noticing my hesitation, he showed me his yarn for which he makes bracelets. While he strung a blue, yellow, and white bracelet on my wrist, he continued to talk to me (however, now in English once he realized I am not a native French speaker). He called me "African Princess" about three times that I can remember and insisted that I visit his homeland after leaving due time sir. He worked, swiftly, never making eye-contact, as he was focused on his work. He mentioned places that I need to visit, both in France and abroad, places he said he knew from both his own travels and television. Once he was done, I expected him to ask for pay for a job well done, however, he sent me on my way and said whenever I come back, to remember him. I will. 

I found myself standing against a railing, and in my point of view were two young men speaking in very fast, and very slurred French. I understood absolutely nothing. Well, maybe a few words, but nothing meaningful for the conversation. What I did understand was their body language. One man's hands moved in excited flurries and his speech patterns mimicked that of an angry person's. They were both so deep in conversation, while eating their sandwiches and can only imagine what it was that angered this young man. The other young man sat, listening, and every so often, he would interject (to ask a question or make a statement in agreement I presume). Much like the young couple in love, they were lost in their own world. They didn't even notice me looking directly at them for those few minutes. 

In summation, I don't know if this project helped me capture this elusive spirit of Paris I mentioned. Frankly, I don't even know if that's a real thing or if once again, it's just another romanticized idea. What I do know is, after a few months of being here, I will certainly develop my own "spirit of Paris" and THAT is what I look forward to. G'night guys. 

1 comment:

  1. Well written. I feel as if I was there seeing the people along with you.